Want to Become another John Chow?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Let me continue the discussion on my decision to stop writing sponsored reviews. I did some justification why writing sponsored reviews is not going to help you in the long term. I wanted to clarify further on two issues, raised by fellow bloggers, on this sponsored reviews discussion.

Issue #1: Mixing of Sponsored Content and Original Content
Some of you feel that it is alright to write sponsored reviews as long as you write original posts in between. The mixing of sponsored posts and original posts is a requirement by the paid reviews companies in an effort to dissuade bloggers from completely writing paid content. But, as far as Google is concerned, the mistake is the same whether you write one sponsored post or many sponsored posts. The best practice is to keep away from paid posts.

Issue #2: John Chow Wannabes
Some of you argue that you can follow bloggers like John Chow, who continues to write for ReviewMe. He earns very good money in spite of Google’s penalty. JohnChow.com now has a page rank of only 3. If his page rank is so low, then how can he make substantial money from sponsored reviews? In fact, I understand that John Chow charges as much as $500 for a review on his blog. In his last monthly income report I read, he declared that he made $4000 from reviews made in the month of October 2008.

Let me tell you something, not every one of us can become John Chow. John Chow has as much as 45000 subscribers on his blog. So, a review by John Chow is worth for the money spent by the advertiser. Considering $500 for 45000 readers, the advertiser can reach to about 90 readers for every $1 he spends on the review.

Compare yourself with John Chow; do you have so many readers on your blog? I have just about 150 readers. Using John Chow’s standard of $1 for 90 readers, I could demand only about $2 for a review on my site. Can I do this? No, it is not worth. Neither for me nor for the advertiser. Hope you get what I mean.

Writing purely for money doesn’t seem to work well either for the publisher or the advertiser. The advertiser who pays you money for getting some ride on your PageRank loses when Google pulls your blog down to PR Zero. So, the advertiser is not going to get any help for ranking higher on search engine results page.

Let me conclude that I will commence sponsored reviews again when I have close to 45000 subscribers and I can demand $500 a review. And of course, the review is to reach my readers and not for ranking higher on Google results. So, all the links will be no-followed. In short, I will go for sponsored reviews again when I become another John Chow. Until then, I will maintain “No” to sponsored reviews. Please subscribe to my feed if you like this post


TMInut January 8, 2009 at 9:21 PM  

Then I'm confused - how do any blogs make money? Where does it come from if not from advertising? And I REALLY don't understand the circle of Google giving high ranks, an advertiser likes your blog because of that and then Google pulls you down because of THAT.

I like payu2blog but have no rank for that, I'd like them because they give you things to write about that fit your blog for the most part. I'm too technically inept to make this a whole big deal but you really made me wonder where else people DO get $$ by blogging.

Manick January 8, 2009 at 9:39 PM  

Hi TMInut,

I think you are getting confused between advertising and sponsored content. Advertising is perfectly OK and Google is not against it.

Sponsored content is mainly aimed at indirectly climbing up the search engine results pages. Google does not like this because someone is trying to break their search engine algorithm. To discourage this, they penalize bloggers who write for money and give away links intended to pass on the Google page rank.

So, do not write sponsored reviews. Even if you write, check whether the links can include "no-follow". Thanks.

Kurt Avish January 9, 2009 at 9:52 PM  

I think its wiser to leave these sponsored review stuff as you said it its futile to put a blog pagerank at risk for just $2.

John Chow is a chow and we surely and he dont care about google removing him from their index as he already has a large audience base.

However being banned by google for small and medium blogs is like a tragedy for the blog.

Now if someone want to do the review he can do it but using the nofollow.

dickster1961 January 10, 2009 at 3:05 PM  

Thankfully, I found your blog before I ever wrote any sponsored reviews. I signed up for two of the companies, but there were a couple things that kept me from applying for any jobs.

1-In checking out various blogs, I would come across a blog post, and upon reading it, could tell it was a paid post.

2-In reviewing various opportunities for paid reviews, there was nothing that I saw that I felt comfortable writing about, or that I thought would appear natural in my blog.

Jena Isle January 10, 2009 at 6:17 PM  

This worked for me, I select only reviews which I truly endorse and which I wanted. And it's not bad to earn some money on the sides while looking out for your page rank, which I do. Thanks though for the info.

Manick January 11, 2009 at 7:57 PM  

Kurt Avish: Yes, you are right. For small and medium blogs, it is better to keep away from paid reviews as it will kill the blog altogether. Thanks for your views.

Dickster1961: Most of the times, paid reviews force you to write something which you know nothing about and are not comfortable about. If you see repeatedly a post about Zenni optical and the same picture of spectacles appearing everywhere, you know it is a paid post.

My advice is to keep clear of this mess. Thanks.

Jena Isle: Writing sponsored reviews is a personal choice. Certainly, the money from reviews is substantial for beginners. But, the page rank you are waiting for may never realize if Google finds out. Thanks for your views.

Hava January 14, 2009 at 4:36 PM  

I have never liked sponsored posts. They stick out like a sore thumb. I signed up with a couple of companies, and I too never wrote anything because all of the products were so "off" from what I would normally write about, I just couldn't make it fit.

That was for my old blog. Now I write for Today.com, and get paid per post, plus paid a bonus based on the amount of readers that I bring to the table. They make that money (that they pass along to me) from Google ads. It all pretty much stems from the same place: Google Adsense.

Google is what makes the world go 'round - or at least the internet.


Manick January 14, 2009 at 4:57 PM  

Hi Hava,

Thanks for your comments. Some of us learn after making the mistake of writing sponsored reviews. Some of you realize it earlier. Thats good to know.

You are right. If we can build our blog around Google and play by their rules, we can most likely be successful.

Thewirds February 5, 2009 at 10:10 AM  

There are a lot of "John Chow" out there who's using this technique manick and they just feel fine and don seems care for getting banned from Google as they have so many outbound source link from social bookmarking site or from the friends/visitor who always link back to their site everytime they write a post that related to his site

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